Introducing Rare Protocol and Curation Staking, Now Live on Ethereum Mainnet

Today, Rare Protocol officially launched to Ethereum mainnet, with the deployment of a set of novel smart contracts we believe will usher in a new era for curation in web3. In this post, we want to unpack the why, what, and how.

Let’s start with “why”

It’s hardly alarmist to say that Web3’s vision of “art for all” is in peril. Take a look around. NFT sales are way down. Wall Street bros dumped BAYC for TSLA. And the lifestyle brands pulled whatever web3’s version of an Irish goodbye should be called. In many ways these actions are bear market reactions, but it’s more than that: There’s something existential at play.

The advent of NFTs kicked off a new, web3 native creator economy by solving a fundamental problem for digital creators: how to monetize your work and track provenance. However, as the space quickly grew from a small group of artists and collectors into a massive community of strangers and anonymous wallet addresses, the ecosystem developed a massive curation, discovery, and authenticity problem. For creators, it’s hard to get discovered, and for collectors, the millions (soon to be trillions) of options are overwhelming. Meanwhile, there’s no good incentive system to spur quality crowdsourced curation.

Total NFT mints on Ethereum, Aug. 2016 - June 2023, by @niftytable
Total NFT mints on Ethereum, Aug. 2016 - June 2023, by @niftytable

That’s the problem Rare Protocol and Curation Staking are here to solve. Now live at

What is Rare Protocol?

Rare Protocol is the open curation protocol for NFTs, unlocking the full potential of the web3 creator economy by creating an onchain data layer for curation, reputation and discovery.

What is Curation Staking?

Core to the protocol is Curation Staking, an open, peer-to-peer system where anyone can vouch for the authenticity and appeal of another actor by staking RARE on them. This data can be used by anyone to signal value or assess the reputation, authenticity, social connections or taste preferences of a given address owner – resulting in a powerful social graph that makes it easier to discover creators and deepen connections in the ecosystem.

The Two Main Components of Curation Staking: Community Pools and Curated Lists

Any NFT platform can utilize the open dataset generated by Curation Staking to improve curation & discovery
Any NFT platform can utilize the open dataset generated by Curation Staking to improve curation & discovery

To get started, all you need is $RARE, the native token of Rare Protocol. You can stake any amount of $RARE on any artist (or collector) with an Ethereum address. This admits you into the artist’s Community Pool, which is like a club of supporters with a shared interest in the artist’s success. Artists can use any compatible app to engage with their pool of supporters, see who’s most invested, and gate access to community benefits.

As artists make sales through a compatible marketplace like SuperRare, their community pool and its stakers earn rewards. The more $RARE and the earlier you’ve staked, the more you can potentially earn. This incentivizes the discovery of hidden talent, and helps level the creative playing field.

Your Curated List is an onchain reflection of all the artists you’ve staked in. Lists link pools to other lists in order to uncover and connect similar tastes. They transform an otherwise uncharted ecosystem – where discovery (and being discovered) requires peddling dopamine on advertising-driven social networks – into a navigable, three dimensional web that anyone can explore. Through Community Pools and Curated Lists, discovery becomes an logical and engaging game of following signals down well lit routes from your existing connections to nearby communities of art, artists, and taste preferences.

By staking $RARE, you’re helping create this shared curation layer that benefits the whole NFT ecosystem. As the number of Community Pools and Curated Lists grows, so does the social graph of onchain community and market activity – a new open dataset that builders can use to develop better apps and experiences.

Watch this video for an introduction on how to get started with Curation Staking:

Benefits for Artists, Collectors, and Curators in Web3

At an ecosystem level, Rare Protocol leverages peer-to-peer token incentives to increase the efficiency and liquidity of the NFT market by improving discoverability, security and seller reputation. Similar to the value that ENS provides to us all with its platform-agnostic naming service, Rare Protocol adds a platform-agnostic, qualitative data layer to the web3 creator economy, as a public-good system.

Through Curation Staking, Rare Protocol allows creators to foster a community of tastemakers, forming a unique connection with them onchain and unlocking the possibility for staking-gated rewards and other benefits to flow to the creator’s biggest supporters. In parallel, it improves discovery and safety for collectors, and enables them to be rewarded for finding and supporting creative talent early. Rare Protocol is rewiring the landscape for tastemakers, providing a whole new way to be compensated for doing curatorial work on the internet.

Progress to Date

Rare Protocol and Curation Staking have been in testnet alpha since June, and today marks the launch of mainnet beta. This is the next major step in bringing Rare Protocol to life - something that’s been in the works for months.

Back in May, we published the whitepaper, which was followed by three months of alpha testing from June to August. This process was a great success, seeing positive feedback come in from users, accruing around 200 testnet users, and fostering healthy forum and governance discussions, which sharpened the ideas and improved the token economics of the system.

Seasoned with just the right number of 🥩memes, on August 16th the SIP to deploy Rare Protocol to mainnet went live. A landmark moment, the proposal received 6M votes in favor, leading us to mainnet launch today.

What's Next?

Deploying Curation Staking on mainnet is a major step in the Rare Protocol mission to revolutionize the economics of human creativity, but it’s also just the first step in a journey that won’t be easy. There’s much to be done, and we hope that people who are passionate about art and curation on the web will be inspired enough by the vision to step up and get involved. Together, we can build a massive, interconnected web of creativity and value, but we’ll need your help in achieving that mission.

The Mission

Rare Protocol is rooted in the belief that much of blockchain’s potential lies in its capacity to remove bottlenecks on the flow of capital that have long existed solely in benefit of society’s affluent. In doing so, blockchain enables wealth to grow and spread to where it’s most deserved. The success of cryptoart, it could be argued, presented an early example of this mechanism at work.

However, by itself, blockchain is just a technology, not a solution. It is the rules we write atop this technology (into the token economics of smart contracts) and our willingness to adopt them that will bring this vision to fruition.

Rare Protocol presents a new, powerful set of such rules. Its promise lies in its capacity to empower those who use it to freely and easily signal value in the NFT art ecosystem. In this way, by leveraging tokenomics Curation Staking clears bottlenecks in the flow of capital through the web3 creator economy, freeing it to flow toward those creators, collectors, and curators that deserve it most, regardless of existing wealth and status.

This is decentralized cartography: Art lovers from all over the world contributing reputation-based signals from millions of unique perspectives in order to build a social graph that charts every corner of this evolving ecosystem. Carved into the blockchain, this social graph acts like an open source map of the ecosystem that anyone can use to discover new art and form unexpected communities. It lowers the barriers for artists and collectors to connect, and it establishes new routes down which capital can flow.


Stay tuned for more updates on the Rare Protocol Twitter, and sign up here to stay in the know.

PS: don’t forget to mint your commemorative mainnet launch NFT below! 👇

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